The reason for this is the wide range of ages that child care websites have to appeal to. The primary users are the parents of the children at the child care centre who will initially search for a good looking early childhood centre that they can approach to get a better feeling of the center and the facilities. But the children will interact on the site also.
Parents will look for specific assets of the centre and these specifics need to be clearly shown on the child care websites;
• The languages spoken by the teachers and care givers of the centre are very important. Especially for immigrants who prefer their children to learn the native language of the country they are residing in. Children are very quick to pick up the native tongue and if the language spoken at home is different then their children will not adapt as fast. Conversely, if at least one of the teachers also speaks the language of the immigrants then their children may be more easily understood in times of crisis should the child revert to the language spoken at home.
• The staff and teachers that will potentially look after and teach their children should be a feature of child care websites. Photos of these people, who are predominantly women, are crucial to forming a good first impression that imparts trust and a warm welcoming impression. Great photos of smiling faces are visual impressions that can override any impressive credentials that may be part of the assets of teachers. This is one of the crucial welcoming signals.
• The hours of operation are important to parents, for many work hard and hold down multiple jobs that provide the ability to pay for the fees that allow them to drop their children off for at times a long day of learning and having fun. Flexible hours are a real asset to busy mothers and fathers who may have to make a choice on this criteria alone.
• The fees charged are important to everyone and although there is a certain reluctance on the part of some businesses to impart this information it needs to be conveyed in some manner to ensure that the visitor does not get put off in favour of other centers that seem more attractive because they provide all of the information. One stop shopping is also an issue on the internet and should be part of all child care websites.
• Most centers should be competing on the equipment and environment that they provide for their children. This is a very important part of the overall comfort that the parents need to see when they tour the child care website. Sure they can only get a glimpse of the environment but presenting the equipment being used by children in an active and happy manner can give a good enough impression for the parents to investigate more and visit the site. The use of videos for websites has provided a great way to showcase equipment and give an insight into the environment and should be included in the website design plan.